I spent a week following a 1950’s beauty schedule

I would make a terrible 1950’s housewife. Every time I watch an episode of Mad Men I marvel at the hair and makeup and how long it would have taken to do every morning.

I’m too lazy for that.

That was until I found the below scan from a 50s magazine detailing a ‘beauty schedule for busy young wives’ which seemed manageable. The original proponent for our millennial self-care obsession.



A facial helps you start the week with a bright outlook

The schedule tells me to cleanse my face with cream and them apply a mask to my throat and face – promising that it would tighten my pores and boost circulation.

I opted for my favourite skinfood Mud Masque and felt unreasonably smug as it dried (I blame that on the self-care thing).

OPINION: I have never applied a face mask to my throat and it’s not something I’d rush to do again. Other than that minor irritation, face masks are great for the skin and don’t take much time or effort. I should probably heed the advice and incorporate it weekly.


While your polish dries, spread and clench your toes by picking up marbles.

My second task is to give myself a pedicure and do some foot exercises. Painting my nails is one thing, picking up marbles with my toes is another thing entirely. Especially considering I don’t own marbles.

OPINION: I took their advice and rolled a small bottle under my foot instead of picking up the marbles. It felt pretty good, but in the spirit of honesty and self-awareness I’ll only do it again if a physio tells me to.


Remember this is a feminine must all the year round

For a while now society has been toying with the expectation that women have to be hairless to be considered attractive (aka. accepted). Just recently Paris Jackson was dragged by the Australian media for daring to have leg hair.

I had just read Michelle Duff’s story on Stuff  when I got to day three which made the schedule’s language glaring – it ‘is a feminine must’.

OPINION: I folded to both convention and instruction, and shaved. I mixed some tea tree oil with a mild moisturiser and used that as my antiseptic follow up. I swear by tea tree oil for a number of things, and yet again it didn’t disappoint.


If it doesn’t need washing every week.

My hair definitely needs washing every week.

OPINION: Today’s task was pretty simple – to wash my hair. I let the conditioner sit longer than normal and let it air dry in the sunshine. I think both made my hair look better.


Fit your weekly manicure into the day’s schedule

Red nails were a staple choice for a 1950’s woman so was the colour I chose for my Friday manicure.

Cosmetics manufacturers would match nail polish colours with lipsticks allowing 1950’s women to be perfectly coordinated and polished.

OPINION: I usually paint my nails on my bed, this time I followed the schedule’s advice and set myself up at the dining table. Red is still a great nail polish colour. It’s a classic for a reason I suppose.

Saturday & Sunday: 

Above all, your husband will be more encouraged to suggest last-minute plans.

The beauty schedule simply recommends brushing up on any grooming details that need a little extra attention over the weekend. As I felt pretty well groomed already so I decided to make the most of the 1950’s theme and try two skincare tips.

On Saturday I set up a steam facial (bowl + essential oil + boiling water + towel = at home steam facial) to enjoy just before bed. It honestly made my skin feel great and was a relaxing way to finish the night.

On Sunday I (foolishly) chose to try another common 50’s skincare tip and simply use bar soap to wash my face.  Most skincare experts these days advise to steer clear of this and straight after the ‘soap facial’ I could tell why. My skin felt tight and dry and I made a dash for the moisturiser straight away.

OPINION: Steam facial is a hit, and the bar ‘soap facial’ is definite miss!


At the end of the week I’m still no Betty Draper, but at the risk of sounding like every other millennial a bit of self-care is always a good thing. Whether that’s taking the time to paint your nails, or relaxing with a face mask. Just make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not because your busy, young husband expects it.

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